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County OKs plan

Retirees to get new insurance

September 26, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - A new Montgomery County insurance plan for retired county employees will save the county more than $470,000.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors approved the plan Tuesday in an 11-3 vote.

The Medicare Advantage Plan will replace the county's current Medicare insurance plan.

Article Photos

St. Johnsville Town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano defends the proposed Medicare Advantage Plan at the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland

The current plan charges patients a copay when going to the doctor but charges nothing for generic prescription drugs.

Under the new plan, which was researched by Benetech Group Insurance Planning, generic drugs will cost $10 apiece and brand names $20, but there will be no copay for doctor's visits.

According to Benetech, the plan, which will cover more than 200 former employees, will save each eligible retiree $16.65 a month in premiums. Couples will save $33.31 a month.

Under the new plan, retirees no longer will receive a $100 reimbursement for Medicare Part B premium costs. Instead, the reimbursements will go to the county.

Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza opposed the plan, saying the change would be detrimental to the county's retirees. He claimed the county's retirees already get free prescriptions. He said some who require multiple medications will have to pay a large bill under the new plan.

"I'm not going to balance the budget on the backs of retirees who have worked here a number of years, are on pensions and can barely afford to pay them now," DiMezza said.

Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara J. Wheeler and Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor Robert Barone agreed. They also voted against the change.

"I talk to so many people, and they can't believe these cuts," Wheeler said. "We couldn't cut $35 a mile from the snow and ice budget, but we want them to pay $40 more in copay. They deserve better than this."

Board of Supervisors Chairman Shayne Walters said all of the concerns that were brought up by DiMezza, Barone and Wheeler were answered at a meeting meeting last week.

St. Johnsville Town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano said the three were using outdated information.

He said the new premiums would save money.

"We're talking about a premium that is $379 a month versus $605," Stagliano said.

The new plan will go into effect once it's approved by the county attorney to make sure it does not go against any employees' collective-bargaining agreements.



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